We are well aware of Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction procedure. It was published as a part of ‘The Conditions of Learning’, back in 1965, but is still used and is applicable in today’s context. Almost all elearning companies in Mumbai and worldwide follow most of the events presented by this technique.
The events in this procedure are based on internal and external cognitive factors that lead to learning. The learners’ prior knowledge forms internal factors, whereas the external factors are the stimuli from the outside.
Let us list the nine events:
Inform learners of objectives
Recall of prior learning
Present the content
Provide learning guidance
Elicit performance (practice)
Retention and transfer to the job
The Nine-Events by Gagne are usually used in face-to-face learning; so, how do we use them while developing the content?
While creating content, these events must be modified to suit the needs of your target audience as well as your mode of instruction (text-based or online). All kind of elearning development Mumbai and globally takes into account the nine principals while developing a course.
Let us try and understand how these modifications can take place.
The first step would be to gain attention. Since the instructor is not present, create a compelling introduction that will grab immediate attention and get them hooked right from the beginning. For this step, a story that is heart-touching or a question that surprises or shocks them would be a winner. This will even get the attention of learners who are not motivated for the course or who are easily distracted.
Be it online or text-based course, the learners needs to know what they will be seeing, learning and doing. This will allow them to pre-organise their thoughts. You need to tell the learners the goal of the designed course. This will enlighten them as to why they need to be an active participant of the course. The objectives need to be stated very clearly, connecting the course to its application in the real-world. Using Bloom’s Taxonomy, will ease the process. This will increase the likelihood of them engaging in the learning process.
The third step is to recall any prior knowledge or skills that will be required for the current course. Scaffolding is the task to be achieved in this step. Give them exercises that will not only recall what they have learnt previously, but will also bring to their attention why that knowledge or skill is important. It will form a connection between previous and new knowledge.
The fourth step is to introduce the current topic. Ensure that the topic is presented in a manner that will directly connect it to the stated goals and objectives. The content has to be chunked and sequenced in such a way that there are no chances of cognitive overload. In case of online learning, giving feedback on individual tasks will correct any problems related to learning.
Even the most advanced learners need support in terms of learning new skills and gaining new knowledge. This is the step wherein you coach the learners on how to learn the new skill. If proper guidance is not provided, the learners may get frustrated thereby losing interest in the course. For test-based content, information such as rubrics for assigned projects and activities can be given. Also, provide them with the expectations, instructions, and timelines of the outcome. For online learners, activities within the learning management system can be created that allows greater cooperation amongst students. This will also ensure that incorrect information is not committed to their long term memory.
‘Practice makes it perfect’ is what the next step is about. Let the learner do something with the newly acquired behaviour, skills, or knowledge. This becomes the key to absorbing and retaining the new knowledge and skills. Provide activities that can be tried in the real world. Online learners can be given scenarios and simulations that will let them see what their decisions lead to, as well as the rewards and consequences involved in the outcome of their actions.
Learners require constructive feedback to overcome problems and inconsistencies. This can be done on individual level rather than a general praise or criticism for the entire audience, in online learning environment. Every learner should be made aware of the steps that they can take to achieve their goals.
The progress level of the learners needs to be gauged in a timely manner. This will help you identify the weak spots, not only in the learners but also in your strategy. Assessments in the online learning environment, will allow you to identify the knowledge gap, between what they already know and what they still need to acquire for achieving the learning objectives. Your assessment tools could be exams, quizzes, written assignments, projects, etc.
The final step in this instructional procedure is to aid in the transfer of knowledge by connecting it to real world situations. Make your learners aware how they can apply what they have learnt in the real-world.
No matter what the learning goals are or who your target audience is, Gagné’s 9 Events of Instruction can be used to create effective and engaging contents for your learners.